Product Review: The SurfacePad Line by TwelveSouth

If you notice anything about my posts on this blog, it’s that I’m a big fan of minimalism - even more so after purchasing my MacBook Air several weeks ago. I like to keep the accessories I use with my Air simple, even down to the case protection I use.

I've been scouring websites for those companies that specialize in accessories for the Mac and came across TweveSouth's SurfacePad line for iPhone, iPad mini, and MacBook. Their original products consisted of the MacBook and iPhone, with the iPad being a recent addition. I should preface this review by saying that I have a strong dislike (read: hate) for most iPhone cases. I think the iPhone is a beautiful device and shouldn't have its chamfered edges hidden by some shitty forty-dollar plastic case. To that end I've been looking more towards skins, veneers and wraps.

For iPhone

Enter the SurfacePad for iPhone. It combines my love of minimalism with the need for protecting my phone. Plus, the sight of a leather slip doesn't look half bad against the polished metal edges of the phone.

The interior of the SurfacePad for iPhone was given just as much thought as the exterior. Inside, you'll find a micro-suede pad that rests against the front of your iPhone, protecting it from scratches and keeping the surface clean from dirt. Granted, I use a screen protector on my 5S already, but I'll take all the protection I can get being this picky.

The thing I love the most about the SurfacePad for iPhone is that I don't have to take it out of a case to use the camera - a problem I was afflicted with when I was using the BookBook for iPhone 4/4S. There's a very deliberate cut out on the back, that, while still affording you the protection of a wrap on your iPhone, allows you to make full use of your camera. As as side note, I did test this case with the popular Ollo Clip camera accessory for iPhone, it's important to note that, at least on my 5S, the SurfacePad is around an eighth of an inch too high towards the bottom of the lens to allow enough clearance. Therefore, this case, while highly stylish in red, would not be a good choice for my wife, but is perfect for me. If anyone from TwelveSouth reads this post, I would strongly urge you to consider this in an update to the product.

The final thing that make this case a winner is it's hidden feature. The SurfacePad for iPhone works as a stand so you can use your iPhone as an actual clock comfortably without having to dock it.

For MacBook

My experience with the wrist rest area on my old MacBook Pro was a less than stellar one. It contained scratches and discolorations due to it coming in constant contact with my watch during repeated use. It even contained a pock mark where the fastener of the watch band dug in a time or two. It was ugly.

Being the kind of person that previously adorned his MBP with stickers on the lid, I wasn't a fan of putting anything semi-permanent on my new Air. Removing the stickers from my Pro lid was shear, unadulterated torture, and the only thing that would have made it easier would have been a razor blade and a blow torch.

Despite my apprehension on the subject, after a period of a few months, I decided to take a chance on a SurfacePad for MacBook Air. I'm glad I did. Much like the rich and luxurious feel of the SurfacePad for iPhone, the laptop version is durable enough to stand up to brutal watch buckles and bracelets (for the ladies), while providing a supple place to wrest one's wrists for hours while being productive. It's also a godsend to those living in colder climates, or those that brave harsh winters, as the pad retains a certain warmth which shields your delicate wrists from the freezing tundra of MacBook aluminum.

To match my phone, I decided to get mine in black leather. Both versions are from similar cuts of leather, so the grain will look close to - if not exactly - the same.

For iPad mini and Air

Much like iPhone cases, iPad cases also annoy me to no end. They're usually bulky, designed of cheap-looking materials like plastic, and either lack the visual punch a case should provide, lack the protection an (ab)user of an iPad needs or both. Sure you can get an overpriced Otterbox, but unless you're in the construction business or have a propensity to use your iDevice around large, open bodies of water, you're overpaying for protection you'll probably never benefit from.

Much to my delight, TwelveSouth recently added on its line of SurfacePad products to incorporate the iPad - both mini and Air. While the cover is available immediately for the iPad mini, it'll still be some time before orders on the Air will be fulfilled. I've yet to order mine, primarily due to the the fact of being on vacation as I write this and that they're not yet sold in an Apple retail store, but you can bet I'll be ordering mine in the same black I have my other SurfacePads for consistancy sake.


I am always very happy with the TwelveSouth products I buy for my Apple devices. They always prove to be a good value for what I get in exchange and they're always very durable and work as advertised. The SurfacePad line is certainly no exception, which is why I'm a rabid evangelist for their products.